Baptism - only immersed once. Is my baptism good?

Tonight in RCIA we talked about how baptism in the didache was described as being immersed or poured over three times. I was only immersed once. I apologize if my question is stupid, and I feel like it is, but is my baptism still good?

I’d go ask the priest to be certain. At worst, you’ll be conditionally baptized.

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I’m pretty sure you’re good. They accepted my husband’s baptism and as a Presbyterian he was just sprinkled, which the Catholic Church doesn’t permit itself. He didn’t have to explain his method of baptism, just show a certificate that said he was baptized in the Presbyterian church.
They’re not so legalistic that they will ask “how many times were you dunked?”

I found this guideline online, it’s a few years old but I have no reason to think there’s been a big change unless one of the Church policy experts on here says it’s changed.


Yes; the symbolism of three times is wonderful but it’s not required. Many, many folks have entered the Church via a “single-dunk” baptism. I’m one of them.

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I was immersed once, in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Trinitarian formula). My priest never asked how many times I was immersed :slight_smile:

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Evangelical baptism is typically a single immersion… and evangelical baptism is typically accepted by the Church. (Though as it happens I was conditionally baptized upon becoming Catholic despite my evangelical baptism).

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In my experience, they’ll do a conditional baptism if there is the slightest possibility that the previous baptism was not in the Trinitarian formula. Sadly, there are far, far too many denomination who teach that Jesus REALLY didn’t mean to use the Trinitarian formula exclusively, so they’ll baptise in the name of Jesus only, or in the name of the Father only, or in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of John the Baptist, or somesuch.

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I’ve never heard of that formula. Any idea which denomination uses that? Or am I being dense and no one uses it?

Jesus name only baptism formula was common in my family, which is of a charismatic Pentecostal type background.

Baptisum don’t wear off, do they.

I think @Muzhik is being flippant. Some Protestant denominations (or, more to the point, non-denominational churches) say that the Trinitarian formula isn’t necessary – that is, that all that’s necessary is to be baptized in the name of Christ. Others, even, will dispute the necessity of baptism.

So… I think it’s not unreasonable to just take the comment at face value, without digging too deeply (or literally) at the example: some don’t see the need for the Trinitarian formula.


Unfortunately, I wish I WERE being flippant. As nightshade noted above, there are several Pentecostal denominations who use a “Jesus Only” formula. Others will insist that the “Father” and “Holy Spirit” parts were later additions, or that it should be baptism in the name of the Holy Spirit only. There was one liberal Newman Center at some college in Wisconsin where the bishop’s office had to send out several hundred letters to people telling them to go to their priest ASAP and be re-baptized, as the bishop learned that this Newman Center had altered the words of the formula to be gender-neutral, i.e. baptized in the name of the Creator, the Savior and the Spirit.

Whenever I read of an abuse like this, I’ve got a couple of thoughts. One is that Protestants constantly accuse Catholics of not following the Bible and of adding things to Scripture; yet when we say that we do it in this way because that’s what Scripture tells us to do, we hear a chorus of, “Well, that’s not what it REALLY means!” Another is a line in Scripture that says,

"Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name? Did we not drive out demons in your name? Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?’ Then I will declare to them solemnly, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.’ (Matt. 7:22-23)

If you are being baptized by immersion, once is enough.

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“Father, Son, and John the Baptist”? Umm… flippant. :wink:

No, not if you’re in one of those sects that teaches that Trinitarianism is a Pope-ish invention by priests who were too afraid to actually believe what Scripture says and instead invented things that CLEARLY are not referred to or expressly stated by Scripture. (It helps if your sect believes that GOD spoke in the English of King James, accept no other translations.) We know Trinitarianism is wrong and evil because it’s taught by the Catholics. There is God the Father, and there is Jesus. Both real persons. The Holy Spirit CAN’T be a person, because it’s a spirit. Therefore, what the Catholics (and their ilk – I’m looking at you, Anglicans) erroneously teach is a separate person is in fact God’s inspirational breath, the same breath that breathed life into Adam’s nostrils.

So there is no separate “Holy Spirit” that has authority. To say you do this “in the name of” so-and-so means that person has authority and that you are using some of that authority. John the Baptist baptized Jesus, the Son of God. Therefore, John has some authority over Jesus. Therefore it is right and proper to invoke his name in baptism.

There are over 35,000 denominations in the world that claim “fellowship” with Christ Jesus. They are all going to have some differences in teaching, all the while claiming that they follow what is written in the Bible. Sad, yes, flippant, no. :unamused:

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Baptism with the the sprinkling of water is also legitimate, along with pouring and immersion.

Sprinkling (aspersion) is not permitted in the Church today, meaning that the Church will not baptize anyone by sprinkling. However, aspersion is accepted as valid if done by another Christian faith using the Trinitarian formula and with the intent to baptize.


??? :thinking:

I get what you’re trying to say, but “Catholics are doing something that’s not in Scripture” isn’t the right explanation here… :wink:

OK, so although I get what you’re trying to say, I think I’m with @PattyIt here – exactly who is it whom you claim baptizes in the name of John the Baptist, eh?

The reference I posted above says aspersion is not permitted. Do you have a reference saying otherwise?

You’re incorrect.
Canon Law says otherwise. Spinkling is valid, but not licit (since 1983), and thus the Catholic Church doesn’t do it. They do accept it when another church does it.

The Catholic Church doesn’t sprinkle infants, they pour water on the baby’s head. I’ve seen it many, many times as baptisms have often been done at the regular Sunday Mass.

I believe it’s considered pouring (affusion) if the water flows on the skin, rather than sprinkling (aspersion) which is being hit by drops of water, like when the priest throws drops of holy water on you with a palm branch. So you can just use a little water and get it to flow on baby’s head and he’s baptized. Perhaps it looked to you like they were sprinkling, but it’s not the same thing.

Presbyterians are actually baptized by sprinkling. I know this because I married one.

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